Making Of Bulletproof Glass, In The Backyard Of Chennai

CHENNAI: In the heart of Tamil Nadu’s manufacturing hub at Sriperumbudur the process to make the first line of bulletproof glass by Saint-Gobain under its brand Vetrotech began a month ago. The advanced glass solutions line, part of the `3,000 crore investment made at the World Glass Complex, will be fortifying embassies, hotels and government organizations.

In 2016, Markets and Markets released a report that estimated the global bulletproof glass market at $3.56 billion and projected it to reach $7.56 billion by 2022. Though the market is niche, in recent times, manufacturers have upgraded technologies to cater to a rising number of terrorist attacks, shootouts and industrial accidents.

While Saint Gobain India has been importing and supplying bulletproof glass to governments, embassies and banks in India for nearly six years now, rising security concerns around the world have led to a definitive demand in the country, says Gopikrishnan T M, business head of Vetrotech-Saint Gobain in India. "Normally, people start thinking of security when their building is almost under completion. But it’s too late to import these glasses then, because they take three to six months to be customized and arrive. Having a unit here that makes the same quality products and delivers them at a faster pace makes it easier to safeguard the premises and also saves clients on import duties," he says.

In a study done with security and architecture consultants three years ago, Saint Gobain India estimated the bulletproof glass market in the country to grow at 20% per year. "This is a responsive market. The past five years have seen terrorist attacks in Paris, London, Brussels, and other parts of Europe. This has reflected in the domestic market in India through an increase in the need for security systems," says Guillaume Le Gavrian, CEO of Vetrotech Saint-Gobain International AG.

Since the 26/11 terrorist attack at Mumbai’s iconic Taj Mahal hotel, the company has supplied bulletproof glass to several five-star hotels across the country. "Hotels use bulletproof glass in areas where they perceive threat — presidential suites, main lobbies and entrances," he says.

Bulletproof glass is tested as per international standards, defined by a set of norms. These decide attributes such as the thickness of the glass, number of shots it can take from different ammunition, its holding frame, and different temperatures that could make the glass matrix and the PVB react differently and alter its resilience. "The highest standard is bullet resistance level 7, which corresponds to the thickness of glass that goes up to 87mm and can resist up to three shots from an assault rifle equivalent to an AK-47," says Gopikrishnan.

In India, Saint Gobain complies with the international standards, but most times, it’s a question of what the customer requires. "Defence research organisations, for example, may test with fewer or more number of shots in accordance with local regulations," says Gopikrishnan.

Source: The Times Of India

Image Source: Saint Gobain


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